Catalogue


The feminine political novel in Victorian England /
Barbara Leah Harman.
imprint
Charlottesville : University Press of Virginia, 1998.
description
xi, 224 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0813917727 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Charlottesville : University Press of Virginia, 1998.
isbn
0813917727 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
1902154
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [207]-215) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-11:
Harman postulates a subgenre, the feminine political novel, as exemplified by Charlotte Bront"e's Shirley, Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, George Meredith's Diana of the Crossways, George Gissing's In the Year of Jubilee, and Elizabeth Robins's The Convert, texts in which women enter territory previously the domain of men, especially industry and politics. Contemporary critics of these works claimed that through such exposure Victorian women faced the stigma of sexual taint. Harman goes beyond recent studies of women in urban spaces, such as Mary Ryan's Women in Public (CH, Jun'90), Judith Walkowitz's City of Dreadful Delight (1992), and Deborah Nord's Walking the Victorian Streets (CH, Mar'96), in identifying a fiction that sees the engagement of women in public affairs as transforming, not stigmatizing. This stimulating and valuable addition to the literature on Victorian fiction is recommended for both undergraduate and graduate collections. J. D. Vann; University of North Texas
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 1998
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Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
In this ground-breaking book, Barbara Leah Harman convincingly establishes a new category in Victorian fiction: the feminine political novel. By studying Victorian female protagonists who participate in the public universe conventionally occupied by men -- the world of mills and city streets, of political activism and labor strikes, of public speaking and parliamentary debates -- she is able to reassess the public realm as the site of noble and meaningful action for women in Victorian England.Harman examines at length Bronte's Shirley, Gaskell's North and South, Meredith's Diana of the Crossways, Gissing's In the Year of Jubilee, and Elizabeth Robins's The Convert, reading these novels in relation to each other and to developments in the emerging British women's movement. She argues that these texts constitute a countertradition in Victorian fiction: neither domestic fiction nor fiction about the public "fallen" woman, these novels reveal how nineteenth-century English writers began to think about female,transgression into the political sphere and about the intriguing meanings of women's public appearances. The author draws on significant historical research, including materials related to female higher education, the law of "coverture" (under which a woman's legal identity was incorporated into that of her husband), the suffrage movement, and well-known prose works of the period such as Sarah Lewis's Woman's Mission and Mill's Subjection of Women.Tracing the development of this new category of women's fiction from the veiled public appearances of Bronte's novels, through Meredith's rendering of the increasingly easy slide between public and private experiences, and finally toRobins's imagination of a renovated female public sphere, Barbara Leah Harman identifies and explores the significant tradition of female engagement in the public realm of Victorian England.
Main Description
In this groundbreaking book, Barbara Leah Harman convincingly establishes a new category in Victorian fiction: the feminine political novel. By studying Victorian female protagonists who participate in the public universe conventionally occupied by men, she is able to reassess the public realm as the site of noble and meaningful action for women in Victorian England.
Table of Contents
Preface
Introduction: In Promiscuous Companyp. 1
Public Restraint and Private Spectacle in Shirleyp. 14
Woman's Work in North and Southp. 46
Rectitude and Larceny in Diana of the Crosswaysp. 76
Crowds and Marriage in In the Year of Jubileep. 113
Renovating Public Space in The Convertp. 147
Conclusion: The Fate of Public Womenp. 178
Notesp. 189
Bibliographyp. 307
Indexp. 217
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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